AFC West

NFL playoff scenarios: How Raiders' AFC West hopes could end in Week 14

NFL playoff scenarios: How Raiders' AFC West hopes could end in Week 14

Through Week 11, the Raiders looked like the biggest surprise in the NFL. The Silver and Black had won three straight and an AFC West title was well in their reach. 

Three weeks later, those hopes and dreams could come to a crashing halt in Week 14.

After an embarrassing 34-3 loss to the Jets and being blown out against the Chiefs 40-9, the Raiders' chances of winning their first division title since 2002 now are slim to none. If the Raiders (6-6) lose to the Titans (7-5), and the Chiefs (8-4) beat the Patriots (10-2), Kansas City would clinch its fourth straight AFC West title. 

Oakland's blowout loss on Sunday pushed them back to the No. 8 seed in the AFC, behind Tennessee. But a win this upcoming Sunday over the Titans obviously would get them right back in the playoff hunt. 

Another obstacle could be in the Raiders' way this week, too. The Bills (9-3), who currently are the No. 5 seed in the AFC, could clinch a playoff berth with a win, plus a Raiders loss or tie, Texans loss and Colts loss or tie. 

Jon Gruden's squad will be rooting for the Texans (8-4) to take down the Steelers (7-5), too. Pittsburgh owns the sixth and final spot in the playoffs going into this week. 

[RELATED: Where Raiders stand in AFC after loss vs. Chiefs]

Following the Raiders' matchup with the Titans, their schedule becomes much easier. They finish the season with games against the Jaguars (4-8), Chargers (4-8) and Broncos (4-8).

While they must take care of business first, the Raiders have to forget about the Tuck Rule Game for one Sunday and root for the Patriots to get past Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to keep Oakland's AFC West hopes alive.

Raiders vow to learn from Jets debacle, won't excuse embarrassing loss

Raiders vow to learn from Jets debacle, won't excuse embarrassing loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Raiders were supposed to beat the New York Jets on Sunday. They were road favorites. They were riding high on a three-game winning streak. They were in the middle of the playoff hunt. The Jets were a team with two of their three wins over terrible teams.

This game had a ‘W’ written next to it in permanent ink.

They’ll have to cross out that letter and replace it with a big, fat ‘L.’ This wasn’t a nail biter. This was a 34-3 trouncing at MetLife Stadium where everything that could go wrong did.

“We didn’t come to play today,” Raiders defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said. “It’s very simple. They kicked our a--.”

The Raiders kicked a field goal on the opening drive and then gave up 34 unanswered points, including 21 in a fateful third quarter that put the game out of reach.

The Raiders didn’t try to excuse such a performance. Not for one single second.

They took responsibility for this debacle, refusing to cite inclement weather or tough travel or a constantly morphing defensive lineup.

Jon Gruden tried to absorb all the blame, but this loss hangs on everyone.

“We dropped passes. Hell, we dropped four center-quarterback exchanges in the second half. We missed tackles. We missed field goals,” Gruden said. “We missed the opportunity to show fans who came out today what kind of football team we are. I’m really disappointed in it.

“Credit the Jets. They’re part of the story today. It’s not all on how bad we played, though we sure didn’t play very well.”

The Raiders don’t have the talent base to overcome an incomplete performance littered with sloppy individual play.

“We’re not the ’85 Bears,” Gruden said. “We’re a developing football team. We’re developing our roster. We’re making strides. Today was a setback.”

It also wasn’t a season killer. They’re tied with the Steelers, Colts and Titans at 6-5 while battling for the last wild-card spot. They have a date with Kansas City next week, where they can pull even in the AFC West with a victory and four games left to play.

They could’ve had a game up on all of those contenders for a wild-card spot but blew a golden opportunity to show well on the road.

“We got our butts kicked. There’s no way around that,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “They got after us from start to finish, and hopefully it’s an eye-opener.”

It’s safe to call that the case. This team has been solid rebounding between games and within them, but the latter didn’t happen Sunday. The Raiders never recovered from a terrible start and things got so out of hand that Carr and running back Josh Jacobs were removed from the game to preserve health. As an aside, and I can’t emphasize this enough: they were not taken out for poor performance.

The Raiders were upset by the outcome but not downtrodden, with heads planted in hands. The Raiders still have a solid shot to make the playoffs, with relevant games ahead as the regular season concludes.

“No one was hanging their heads,” Carr said. “I’ll just say it was different than times past. I’ve been around guys where stuff like that would happen and it’s kind of miserable to be around some people for reasons that aren’t good. That wasn’t the case this time.

“We know how quickly things can change in the NFL. We were just on a [three-game] winning streak and came out and got our butts kicked. I hate to say it, but it’s not going to be last time you come out and just get beat up. … It happens. It’s this game. As long as you trust your process, trust the plan the coaches are putting together like our guys do, we’re going to bounce back. We’re going to be just fine.”

[RELATED: Raiders' early offensive momentum killed by WR drops vs. Jets]

There aren’t many redeeming moments to mine from this effort, but the Raiders won’t simply burn the tape and move on. They’ll extract lessons from the experience for future use, starting with next week’s massive game in Kansas City.

They could have moved into a first-place tie with the Chiefs by beating the Jets, but let a golden opportunity slip away with a terrible showing.

“You can’t take anybody lightly,” rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “They have been playing well, and we didn’t play well at all. We played bad in every phase. We have got to learn from it.”

How Patrick Mahomes injury could change outlook for Raiders, AFC West

mahomesinjuryap.jpg
AP

How Patrick Mahomes injury could change outlook for Raiders, AFC West

The AFC West might have just become even more wide open.

It already was heading in that direction after Kansas City lost each of their last two games, but the Chiefs might have suffered an even worse loss Thursday night when quarterback Patrick Mahomes left their game against the Broncos with an apparent leg injury.

Mahomes was in obvious pain after emerging from a pile following a fourth-down sneak. He was able to walk to the locker room, but was ruled out for the rest of the game shortly thereafter.

If Mahomes' injury is as serious as it appears, it would have a drastic effect on the AFC West race. The Raiders (3-2) have put themselves back in contention after winning their last two games over the Colts and Bears. While Kansas City's Matt Moore is a competent backup quarterback, he's nowhere near the same kind of player as the 2018 NFL MVP.

A Chiefs loss to the Broncos combined with a Raiders win over the Packers would leave Oakland all alone in first place in the division. Safe to say, nobody expected that to be a possibility in Week 7.

[RELATED: Green Bay HS legend Ingold ready for homecoming vs. Pack]

The Chiefs, Raiders and the rest of the NFL wait with bated breath for more information about Mahomes' injury.